Robert Englund Explains Why the Nightmare on Elm Street Series Freddy’s Nightmares Failed

Right now, a TV series based on a movie franchise is almost guaranteed to have a big budget and be a huge hit on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Prime Video or Disney+. However, back in the 80s that was certainly not the case, as Nightmare on Elm Street spin-off Freddy’s Nightmares proved. Following the success of five movies, Freddy Krueger made his way onto the small screen as the same kind of anthology host as the Crypt Keeper in Tales From The Crypt, with Robert Englund reprising his role as the knife-fingered killer. In a recent interview, Englund explained why he believes the series was a failure and only survived two seasons between 1988 and 1990.


Aside from the initial episode, which was directed by horror legend Tobe Hooper and acted as a prequel to the Elm Street movies, showing one version of the origin of Freddy, Krueger only appeared fleetingly in each episode to introduce the stories and occasionally act as a fourth-wall-breaking commentator. As well as the syndicated series using many writers and directors, leading to a big difference in tone, the censors demanded a lot of cuts to the gore and violence in the series, meaning that it was no surprise the show didn’t last long. While talking to Bloody Disgusting’s The Boo Crew Podcast, Englund added his thoughts on why he feels the series never got a fair chance to succeed. He said:

“Freddy’s Nightmares… they convinced me to do it not for the money but I got my [Director’s Guild of America] card. So I directed some of those episodes. We were exhausted. [Director] Renny Harlin had beat us up on Nightmare 4, but a lot of that group was the crew that had [been with us from the beginning]. New Line is very loyal with their crews, and it was a way for that crew – some of that crew, at least – to move over to the TV series. And back to back, that would’ve been a really nice money gig. But I was lured in – there was really talented people involved – and I was lured in because of the promise of directing.

The problem was… we were supposed to be on at 11:30 or 12:00 at night. This late night show, and we could get away with murder. And we could be dark and nasty and funny. And yet, when we were syndicated, in the bible belt for instance, they had us on at 4:30 in the afternoon. Not a good idea. We got in trouble and we lost sponsors… the budget kept going down. I think originally we were supposed to have 10 days and $600,000 an episode… or something like that. Very quickly we were down to a 5-day shoot, and the budget was cut way down. So as it progressed it got to be more and more difficult. But they’re really amazing people. Directors, and talent in front of the camera that came through.”

Could It Be Time For Freddy To Make Another TV Appearance?

New Line Cinema

While Jason Blum is currently hoping to not only get his hands on the rights to A Nightmare on Elm Street, but also coax Englund back for one more outing as Freddy Krueger, there is a question of whether now could be the perfect time for the franchise to make another run at a TV series. With anthology horror series such as American Horror Story and Creepshow flying the flag right now for the horror genre, there would possibly be a decent amount of interest from fans looking for that nostalgic hit.

However, like with any movie attempt to revive the franchise, without Krueger, there isn’t a franchise, and without Englund, there isn’t a Krueger. If a series was made, it would have to avoid the random, non-Freddy related stories and that once again comes back to the conundrum of how to bring those stories to life potentially without the involvement of Robert Englund. While right now that seems something that is unlikely to happen, fans can currently relive Freddy’s Nightmares on Screambox.